Thomas Tuchel forced into risky Chelsea selection choice after Mason Mount blow adds to crisis
Chelsea without Mason Mount are usually a very different team.
A week following his standout performance in the 7-0 rout of Norwich City, where Mount scored a hat trick, Thomas Tuchel will be frustrated to lose one of his key players before a game that has regularly proved challenging for Chelsea over the years at St. James Park.
Though given Newcastle’s current plight in the relegation zone without a Premier League win so far, the quality in Tuchel’s selection should be enough to maintain the European Champions place at the top of the table with Manchester City and Liverpool kicking off at the same time.
Tuchel is already dealing with injuries to Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Mateo Kovacic, with Christian Pulisic still not fit enough to feature after recovering from an ankle injury picked up in September.
Looking at those who will be playing, there are not tons of surprises to pick through with Tuchel regulars being present, opting for experience in his backline with Thiago Silva returning after missing the previous two games. This is quite harsh on Trevoh Chalobah whose performances have been superb since breaking through in pre-season, and given the speed needed to repel any potential Newcastle counterattacks Chalobah might be missed.
Tuchel spoke on Friday about the importance of wingbacks in his system and unsurprisingly the English duo of Reece James and Ben Chilwell start again. It is also not a major shock to see N’Golo Kante return for his 200th Chelsea start since signing in 2016 from Leicester, an outstanding landmark for an extraordinary player.
Kante’s usual midfield partner Jorginho is brought back here as well, though Ruben Loftus-Cheek again not starting will irritate supporters given his encouraging performances and the need for third man runs against a Newcastle defence which will likely sit deep.
Hakim Ziyech does not deserve to be anywhere near this eleven given recent performances but his opportunity comes from Mount not being available. Given this unlikely chances, Ziyech simply has to impact this game in a meaningful way as a number of games have been allowed to pass him by.
Wonderful to see Callum Hudson-Odoi keep his spot on the left of Chelsea’s attack after his influential outing against Norwich, this feels like the best chance the 20-year-old is gonna get to fully impress in his favoured role so he needs to replicate the quality he produced last time out.
Chelsea can hopefully break their previous St James Park curse to maintain top spot and complete a very successful month.